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What Are You Listening To Right Now?

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I had finished a video on YouTube from 2018 about the impending death of music CDs as a distribution format. A few things in it resonated with me, most notably that the number of discs sold in 2018 was approximately equal to the number sold in 1986, when the format was new. He also noted that major manufacturers like Sony don't even make personal portable CD players anymore. And he noted that even for folks that still collect CDs, the format is generally one that gets played once in a computer drive while the audio is extracted, and then the disc is put into storage.

 

So that encouraged me to grab one of my old portables (a Panasonic unit I bought new in 1999), load it up with some fresh batteries, connect a good set of headphones, and load in the Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits CD that I bought way back in 1988 when it was released. It still sounds as good as the day I bought it.

 

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"The Last Worthless Evening" by Don Henley from the album, The End of the Innocence 5.1*

 

 

 

*From a DTS CD. I've got a few titles that were released on this format from DTS Entertainment (a subsidiary of the company that developed the home DTS format), and they're essentially an audio CD that has a DTS bitstream encoding in place of the standard two channel audio. If you play the CD in a device connected to a DTS decoder, it expands it into 5.1 surround. Playing it without the decoder gives static through your speakers.

 

Because the disc corresponds so closely to the layout of an audio CD, it's possible to use a CD ripper to extract the tracks to .wav, and then change the extension to .dts to play back in certain media programs, like JRiver Media Center.

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I've been listening to a lot of Hank Williams' stuff lately. He wrote and recorded quite a lot of songs back in the late 40s and early 50s before his death at the age of 29, and most of those songs really hold up these years. I understand now why he was such a favorite of my grandfather.

 

 

 

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The entire album is one of my favorites. Due to shenanigans by MCA, they decided to cut "older" acts like Kansas in favor of new acts like Tiffany. In the Spirit of Things received almost no promotion from the record label, and went from new release to cutout bin in something like 6 weeks.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ternaugh said:

 

 

Thanks for posting this. The part from about 3:10 to about 4:50 kept popping up in my mind months ago, and I couldn't remember where I'd heard it.  Not being able to find it was driving me crazy,

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A remixed version of the Pink Floyd album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, included in the set, The Later Years. The remix was apparently to make it sound more like classic Pink Floyd albums, but I'm not sure that I need that. (streaming via Tidal)

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I'm continuing to listen to Hank Williams' repertoire. The guy was freaking amazing. I have not been a country music fan, but my maternal grandfather was, and I wanted to check out what the fuss was all about.

 

Man, that Hank could write.

 

As the book with the "Complete Hank Williams" CD set says, when he died at the age of 29 while on the way to a concert, he had "recorded sixty-six songs that were released under his own name, an astonishing thirty-seven of which were hits. The standard was so impossibly high that no other singer has come close to eclipsing it. When you consider that Hank wrote almost fifty of those sixty-six songs and that many of them are still among the most performed songs in country music, it underscores just what a brilliant, incendiary career it was."

 

He suffered from a congenital back problem that caused him pain his whole life. His first marriage was to the great love of his life, Audrey, but their marriage was torture for both of them and ended badly. But still, when she died decades later, she was buried next to him (despite him marrying someone else after divorcing her!).

 

He died in the back of a car, on the way to a concert, from a combination of pain pills prescribed by a quack doctor and his painkiller of choice, alcohol.

 

But from all that pain came a lot of great music that has since been recorded by scores of artists.

 

It's really stunning to me. I knew about Janis Joplin, Bon Scott, and other artists who died young and left an amazing legacy. But I didn't know much about Hank Williams until now.  Now that I do, I feel closer to my grandfather (who died before I was enrolled in kindergarten) and I better appreciate a type of music and a musician that I'd given short shrift to in the past.

 

And that makes me happy.

 

 

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